A theory on how God works in mysterious ways



In the nearly nine years I’ve been writing the Applesauce blog, I’ve received tens of thousands of comments, ranging from  A to Z, from brilliant to foolish, from profane to respectful and from any other extremes you might imagine.

One of my favorites, published in 2013,  came from a guy who used the pseudonym “labman57” and was his only submission here, at least under that name.

He was responding to a story about an audience at a junior college in Waco, Texas, roundly booing Bill Nye, “The Science Guy,” for saying that the moon does not emit light, but instead reflects the light of the sun.

The local newspaper, the Waco Tribune, reported that people in the audience generally were “visibly angered by what some perceived as irreverence” on Nye’s part.

The controversy arose when Nye took issue with a passage from the Book of Genesis, which reads: “God made two great lights — the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars.”

The lesser light, Nye pointed out, is not a light at all, but only a reflector.

At this point, several people in the audience stormed out in fury. One woman yelled “We believe in God!” and left with three children.

In response to this blog post, I received 10 comments, including this one from labman57:

Come on now. Everyone knows that the moon is made of cheese, and its light is generated by bioluminescent bacteria living just beneath its surface.

On a more serious note — sanctimonious, scientifically-illiterate, theocracy-minded politicians and pundits such as Palin, Santorum, Perry, Bachmann, and numerous socially-regressive state legislators have redefined what constitutes science to fit their own point of view. Therefore, they equate real science with natural phenomena under the control of God.

What they don’t understand is that science is not merely a body of knowledge accumulated over the centuries, it is also the process through which this knowledge is attained. And so simply declaring that something is true because it says so in the Bible (or any other literary source) cannot be construed as science if that “fact” or “idea” was not the result of a valid, structured, self-critical scientific process.

“God works in mysterious ways” is a religious rationalization for what these folks really mean: “I have no freaking clue how natural phenomena happen, nor how the process of scientific observation, experimentation, analysis, deduction, and discovery further our understanding of the universe”.

The allegories and parables presented in the Bible are akin to a docudrama — a fictional account of early human history inspired by and loosely based on actual events. These scriptures were designed, in part, to provide answers for people who asked questions about matters which they could not yet comprehend and to provide guidelines for expected moral behavior as determined by the religious order of the time.